2019 Vancouver Homeless Count. Bad News

2,223 people were counted, But the REAL NUMBERS ARE MUCH HIGHER.

Dan Brown and Kim Maybee hand out food to homeless people in Vancouver, British Columbia on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (Ben Nelms/CBC)
Dan Brown and Kim Maybee hand out food to homeless people in Vancouver, British Columbia on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Vancouver conducted its annual count over the course of two days in March, with 400 volunteers surveying people sleeping on the streets and staying in emergency shelters.  However. The numbers are higher than what the city states.  Either due to deception or recklessness.

A voluntary and anonymous questionnaire asked people in shelters how long they had been without a home, as well as their age, gender, ethnicity and health concerns.

The full report can be read here.

The number of homeless people in Vancouver continues to rise, in spite of the city’s new modular housing complexes.

The city released its 2019 homelessness count in a staff report on Wednesday, which showed 2,223 people who identified as homeless.

However. I had first hand experience and evidence that the number is much higher than 2,223.  Because when we were conducting the homeless count we were told NOT TO COUNT those who are sleeping.   And there were many that were sleeping at 6 am in the morning.  So that was either a conspiracy to keep the homeless count low or blatant ignorance and disregard for accuracy and truth.

We were told not to count those who were sleeping. Why?

So when they claim that the figure is up two per cent from 2018 that is false.  When they purport that they counted 2,181 people, they inadvertently admit that they ignored hundreds who were asleep. So while they do admit that this is the fourth straight year the number has gone up, they are either misleading you or are just plain reckless and ignorant to the facts.

That is why Celine Mauboules can say:

“We are seeing a slower growth in the numbers.… The actions taken by the city and senior levels of government are having an impact,” said Celine Mauboules, Vancouver’s director of homelessness services.

“But homelessness in Vancouver is at its highest number since the count began.”

No conclusion why numbers went up

Around half of those identified through the count filled out a survey, giving the city demographic and geographic information about its homeless population. Of the survey’s respondents:

  • 39 per cent said they were Indigenous (compared to two per cent of the city’s overall population)
  • 44 per cent said they had a mental health condition or illness
  • 38 per cent said they had a physical disability
  • 81 per cent said they lived in the City of Vancouver before they became homeless.

But the report didn’t examine the reasons why the number of homeless people increased, despite more than 600 modular housing units being built since September 2017.

“I think the reason it hasn’t [gone down] is there’s so many shelter rate units that have closed,” said Coun. Jean Swanson, referencing the closure of the Balmoral and Regent hotels, along with other shuttered Single Resident Occupancy units that housed people at shelter rates.

“This is a real humanitarian crisis that’s totally unnecessary.”

Abigail Bond, Vancouver’s director of affordable housing, said the city “doesn’t have all the specifics in the change in the SRO stock,” and hasn’t “seen the impact on the numbers counted in the community, but in our perspective it’s still a vital part of the solution.”

Federal and provincial help

Mayor Kennedy Stewart said “we’re all devastated” by the increased numbers, but was adamant the city’s modular housing strategy was effective given the lack of alternatives for people unable to find affordable housing.

“They’d be on the street. The devastating impact [of the affordability crisis] would be so much worse if it weren’t for the modular housing,” he said.

“We just need to keep doing this. It comes from chronic underinvestment in housing.”

Stewart — whose campaign promise to create a renter’s office in the City of Vancouver was passed by council earlier Wednesday — called on the federal government to provide more funding, highlighting the commitment made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2017 to cut homelessness in half in a decade.

“If you make a pledge to half the homelessness rate, you have to start working on this now, it can’t be just talk,” Stewart said.

“It all depends on the prime minister. If the prime minister comes through with his investments, then it could make a dent.”

But the mayor also said the city need to continue to put money toward the problem.

“What we’re doing is expensive. But these are our neighbours, and they need help,” he said.   But are these just words?   Time will tell if Mayor Stewart will follow the shameful and dangerous steps of the former mayor Robertson, or, set a new path, where Mayor Stewart reduces the homeless rate in Vancouver.

The good news is that everyone, except the CBC, who protects Prime Minister Trudeau, everyone agrees that the Prime Minister Trudeau has only offered empty promises which has had adverse effects on every city in Canada.  Trudeau must be voted out.

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